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Dr Guy Blanchard

Dr Guy Blanchard

Senior Research Associate

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 368083, ORCiD: 0000-0002-3689-0522

Research Interests

1. Development of automated methods for tracking cell shapes, quantification of the fluorescence intensity of tagged proteins and the development of cell behaviour metrics and analyses.

2. Drosophila germ-band extension and zebrafish trunk ectoderm as models for understanding the integration of cell intrinsic and extrinsic forces during animal morphogenesis.

3. Actomyosin & cell shape fluctuations and their role in epithelial contractility. Using myosin motor fluorescence intensity as a proxy for force & inferring epithelial material properties.

4. Quantitative aspects of the dynamics of various other model systems: Early zebrafish forebrain morphogenesis; early development of the Drosophila salivary gland; mouse gastrulation.


Papers in press

Blanchard GB (2017) Taking the strain: quantifying the contributions of all cell behaviours to changes in epithelial shape. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B.

Dicko M, Saramito PBlanchard GB, Lye CM, Sanson B & Étienne J. (2017) Geometry can provide long-range mechanical guidance for embryogenesis. PLoS Computational Biology, Accepted.



Bénédicte Sanson, Claire Lye, Elena Scarpa & Tara Finegan, PDN, Cambridge

Nicole Gorfinkiel & Julia Duque, CSIC, Madrid

Jocelyn Etienne & Nilankur Dutta, LIPHY, Grenoble

Alex Fletcher, Maths & Stats, Sheffield (Chaste modelling platform)

Richard Adams, PDN, Cambridge

Katja Röper & Yara Sanchez-Corrales, MRC/LMB, Cambridge

Alex Kabla, Engineering, Cambridge

Alfonso Martinez-Arias, Genetics, Cambridge


PhD project (now filled)

Myosin contractility in amnioserosa tissue
"Mechanics of living tissue during embryo development: understanding biological observations with a mechanical model".

Further information. Project is based primarily in Grenoble, France, co-supervised by Dr Jocelyn Etienne.

Key Publications

[†first equal,  *co-corresponding]

A: Automated cell tracking and strain rate mapping

Blanchard GB (2017) Taking the strain: quantifying the contributions of all cell behaviours to changes in epithelial shape. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, In Press. 

Blanchard GB & Adams RJ (2011) Measuring the multi-scale integration of mechanical forces during morphogenesis. Current Opinion in Genes & Development, 21:653-663. 
Pubmed  pdf

Kabla AJ, Blanchard GB, Adams RJ & Mahadevan L (2010) Bridging cell and tissue behaviour in embryo development, In ‘Cell Mechanics: From Single Scale-Based Models to Multiscale Modelling’ Eds. Chauvière A, Preziosi L & Verdier C, Chapman & Hall.

Blanchard GB, Kabla AJ, Schultz NL, Butler LC,Sanson B, Gorfinkiel N, Mahadevan L & Adams RJ (2009) Tissue tectonics: morphogenetic strain rates, cell shape change and intercalation. Nature Methods, 6:458-464.
Pubmed  pdf  Supplementary

B: Convergence and extension: intrinsic & extrinsic mechanisms

Dicko MSaramito PBlanchard GB, Lye CM, Sanson B & Étienne J. (2017) Geometry can provide long-range mechanical guidance for embryogenesis. PLoS Computational Biology, Accepted.

 *†Tetley R, †Blanchard GB, Fletcher AJ, Adams RJ & *Sanson B. (2016) Cell rearrangements at Myosin II-enriched boundaries drive Drosophila axis extension. eLife, 5: e12094.
Pubmed Article

Lye CM, Blanchard GB, Huisken J, Adams RJ & Sanson BS. (2015) Mechanical coupling between invagination movements and axis extension in DrosophilaPLOS Biology, 13(11): e1002292.
Pubmed pdf

†Butler LC, †Blanchard GB, Kabla AJ, Lawrence NJ, Welchman DP, Mahadevan L, Adams RJ & Sanson B (2009) Cell shape changes indicate a role for extrinsic tensile forces in Drosophila germband extension. Nature Cell Biology, 11:859-864.
Pubmed  pdf  Supplementary

C: Actomyosin fluctuations, epithelial contractility and modeling forces

Machado PF, Duque J, Etienne J, Arias AM, *Blanchard GB & *Gorfinkiel N. (2015) Active rheology and emergent material properties of developing epithelial tissues. BMC Biology, 13:98.
Pubmed  pdf

Booth AJ, Blanchard GB, Adams RJ & Roper K (2014) A Dynamic Microtubule Cytoskeleton Directs Medial Actomyosin Function during Tube Formation. Developmental Cell, 29:562-76.
Pubmed  pdf

Machado PF, Blanchard GB, Duque J & Gorfinkiel N (2014) Cytoskeletal turnover and Myosin contractility drive cell autonomous oscillations in a model of Drosophila Dorsal Closure. European Physical Journal-Special Topics, 223:1391-1402.
WoS  pdf

Fischer SC, Blanchard GB, Duque J, Adams RJ, Arias AM, Guest SD & Gorfinkiel N (2014) Contractile and mechanical properties of epithelia with perturbed actomyosin dynamics. PLoS One, 9:e95695.
Pubmed  pdf

*Gorfinkiel N & *Blanchard GB (2011) Actomyosin contractile dynamics in epithelial morphogenesis. Current Opinion in Cell Biology, 23:531-539.
Pubmed  pdf 

Gorfinkiel N, Schamberg S & Blanchard GB (2011) Integrative approaches to morphogenesis: lessons from Dorsal Closure. Genesis, 49:522-533.
Pubmed  pdf

*Blanchard GB, Murugesu S, Adams RJ, Martinez-Arias A & *Gorfinkiel N (2010) Cytoskeletal dynamics and supra-cellular organization of cell shape fluctuations during dorsal closure. Development, 137:2743-2752.
Pubmed  pdf  Supplementary

Gorfinkiel N, Blanchard GB, Adams RJ & Arias AM (2009) Mechanical control of global cell behaviour during Dorsal Closure in Drosophila. Development, 136:1889-1898.
Pubmed  pdf  Supplementary

D: Early zebrafish forebrain morphogenesis

Young S, Jennings JN, Blanchard GB, Kabla AJ & Adams RJ (2015) Tissue dynamics of the forebrain neural plate. BioRxiv.
pdf  Supplementary

England SJ, Blanchard GB, Mahadevan L & Adams RJ (2006) A dynamic fate map of the forebrain shows how vertebrate eyes form and explains two causes of cyclopia. Development, 133:4613-4617.
Pubmed  pdf  Supplementary

E: Neuroblastoma

Bell E, Chen L, Viprey VF & Blanchard GB (2014) Meeting report: 3rd Neuroblastoma Research Symposium, Liverpool, 6-7th November, 2013. Pediatric Blood & Cancer, 61:1711–1713.
Pubmed  pdf 

F: Collective behaviour of ant colonies

Sumpter DJT, Blanchard GB & Broomhead DS (2001) Ants and agents: A process algebra approach to modelling ant colony behaviour. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology, 63:951-980.
Pubmed  pdf 

Cox M & Blanchard GB (2000) Gaseous templates in ant nests. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 204:223-238.
Pubmed  pdf 

Blanchard GB, Orledge GM, Reynolds SE & Franks NR (2000) Division of labour and seasonality in the ant Leptothorax albipennis: worker corpulence and its influence on behaviour. Animal Behaviour, 59:723-738.
Pubmed  pdf 

Blanchard GB. Ants Through the Looking Glass. PhD thesis, University of Bath.

Above: Automatically segmented and tracked cells of a zebrafish embryo.